Filed under: Art
Last July we watched in amazement as a J.M.W. Turner painting, "Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino" sold at auction Sotheby's London for over $45 million, setting a new record for the artist. Six bidders pursued the painting driving the price well above pre-sale expectations. The price beat the old record set in April 2006 at Christie's in New York when an 1841 view of Venice, "Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio," sold for $35.9 million but the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles took home the prize. Now the painting is finally going on display at the Getty but what happened in the interim is also interesting.
The Daily Mail reports that the British government postponed export of the work until last month in order to see if enough money could be raised to keep the painting from leaving the country. "Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino" was painted in 1839 and is his final painting of Rome, a culmination of all of the studies that he made during his two visits to the Italian capital. Before the most recent sale, the painting had only appeared on the open market once in the 171 years since it was painted. It was offered for sale by a descendant of the 5th Earl of Rosebery; the 5th Earl of Rosebery had bought the painting in 1878, while on honeymoon with his wife Hannah Rothschild. The painting was most recently displayed at the National Gallery of Scotland where it was on long-term loan.
Los Angeles museums have a small wealth of J.M.W. Turner works, the Getty now has two painting and two water colors. There are also Turners at the Huntington and the LACMA.